ASU can’t hold late lead in loss to Stanford

STANFORD, Calif. — The Arizona State baseball team took a 3-0 lead into the eighth inning, but was unable to hold on in a 4-3 series-opening loss to Stanford on Thursday night at Sunken Diamond.

The Sun Devils (20-15, 9-7) scored two runs in the first and one in the fourth to jump out to a three-run advantage, and starting junior left-hander Brett Lilek threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings before the Cardinal (14-16, 5-8) plated four runs in the final two frames, including a walk-off single with two outs in the ninth.

Lilek struck out six in 6 1/3 scoreless innings, but took his third consecutive no-decision. He conceded four hits and four walks, and did not allow a Cardinal runner to move past second base. Sophomore center fielder Johnny Sewald had a career-high three hits and junior first baseman Nate Cuasey added a two-run homer to lead the Devils.

A throwing error in the first at-bat of the bottom of the eighth inning opened the door for consecutive two-out, run-scoring hits by a pair of Cardinal pinch hitters to tie the game at three runs. Stanford first baseman Danny Diekroeger followed with the game-winning, walk-off single in the ninth after a pair of two-out walks put center fielder Austin Slater in scoring position.

Freshman right-hander Hever Bueno (0-1) entered the game with two outs in the eighth and took his first career loss.

Causey gave the Devils an early 2-0 lead with a two-run homer off the right-field foul pole in the top of the first inning. Sewald led off the game with a single and moved to third on a wild pitch and a flyout before he came home Causey’s second home run of the season.

ASU extended its advantage, 3-0, in the top of the fourth on an RBI single by junior second baseman Drew Stankiewicz. Sewald hit his third single of the game to advance freshman shortstop Colby Woodmansee, who reached base on a fielder’s choice and scored two batters later on Stankiewicz’s base knock.

Sophomore right-hander Jordan Aboites inherited one out and a pair of baserunners in the bottom of the seventh, and coerced the next two Cardinal batters into swinging strikeouts to strand them at first and second.

A pair of Cardinal reached base in the bottom of the first via a fielder’s choice and a single, but Lilek struck out Diekroeger looking to end the frame.

Dominic Jose drove the first pitch he saw in the eighth inning down the right-field line for a two-run double and fellow pinch hitter Tommy Edman followed with an RBI single on the next pitch.

Stanford right-hander AJ Venegas (1-1) tossed a perfect ninth inning to earn the win and Starting right-hander Brett Hanewich was chased with two outs in the fourth after he allowed three runs on six hits and three walks.